It seems like everything is speeding up this time of the year. For most musicians, September is the beginning of the "season" or the performing year, and music teachers are already back in the classrooms.
It's hard not to catch that, "come on, hurry up" kind of thinking and energy right now!
When we start moving in unison with this somewhat stressful rush to start accomplishing this and that, we can actually slow down our growth in our piano playing, if we start rushing through our practice sessions.
Have you noticed a sense of urgency in your practicing lately? As if you "need" to get your pieces learned faster, or even feeling a little frustrated that you aren't progressing faster?
Well guess what? Piano playing is the perfect way to learn how to slow down and establish a good boundary between you and the outside stress that always comes this time of the year, or any other time of the year!
In fact, we can use our piano practicing and playing to teach us how to slow down in the other areas in our lives!
Have you ever heard of the term Mindfulness?
There's a lot more talk about this type of approach to life in the past few years. It seems as more people explore yoga and other forms of mind-body exercises, they are discovering the benefits of learning how to slow your thinking down, and stay focused on the moment.
Basically, Mindfulness is being focused on the present; not the past and not the future.
This is not an easy task. :) Especially...when our lives are filled with activity and upcoming deadlines.
Here's an example. You're cutting up some vegetables to cook for dinner, and while you're doing the prep work, you're thinking of tons other different things.
Meanwhile, you might have cut your finger while chopping the veges!
Now think about when you do this while practicing the piano! Even though you're physically playing your notes, your mind is busy and filled with all of the things you have to get done. Or you're remembering something that someone said to you. It can be anything...
The point is, to start noticing what your mind is doing...while you're playing the piano.
If you are focusing on other things while you are practicing your piano, you won't get the results you want as fast or as successfully, as when you are able to put your attention 100% into your playing, whenever you do it.
Let's take this a whole step farther.
Say you are learning a new scale, with a new key signature and new notes on the keyboard.
It takes a lot of attention, to master this. While you are practicing this new scale though, you start thinking about the piece you need to practice on too, and how much practicing you can do over the weekend...on and on.
See how easy it is to start letting your imagination start working overtime? Even when we're thinking about only piano things!
There are several ways you can start to bring Mindfulness into your piano practicing and playing.
Remember, we're talking about being MINDful, not mindFUL.
The more you do this, the more Mindfulness you will bring into your piano playing, and the less your MindFUL will keep you from growing in your music!
Increasing your attention to be only on your playing will truly help your playing.
As a result of being more Mindful in your piano playing, you will automatically start being more Mindful in other areas of your life! You might notice in a few weeks that you react to things less, and are able to instead observe and watch them go by. Especially those things that don't serve any positive purpose in your life.
You will also notice that you are more successful in school or work, or a group that you volunteer for, because your attention span has grown and can stay active for longer periods of time.
Just as a yoga enthusiast goes to "the mat" each day...to practice Mindfulness through moving their body and breath in unison, pianists go to "the bench" each day to do the same thing.
The outward activity is different, but the inner activity is the same.
Stay Tuned to LessonsOnTheWeb to learn much more and achieve your dreams of playing the piano!
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